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    HELP HATZALAH HELP KLAL YISRAEL- An Exclusive Interview with Catskill Hatzalah Coordinators Yidel Feig, Yom Tov Malek and Bernie Gips

    Catskills Hatzalah is the largest all-volunteer

    Ambulance Service in the Catskills, providing

    premium quality prehospital emergency medical

    treatment and ambulance transport at no cost to

    all who need it. Catskills Hatzalah, a division of

    Chevra Hatzalah, was first established in 1983 to

    meet the growing needs of the summer residents

    in the Catskills. In 2003, Catskills Hatzalah

    expanded it’s operations to provide service

    year-round in Sullivan County.

    AH: How does Hatzalah work upstate

    with members coming from all different

    parts of the tri-state area?

    YF, YM & BG: During the summer months, all

    the Hatzalah members that come upstate have

    the same privileges in the Catskills area that they

    would have in the city.

    The Catskills division is the seventeenth “neighborhood”

    of Central Hatzalah of New York City.

    While the Catskills have a year-round operation,

    the vast majority of their activity is in July and

    August, when summer residents arrive. A plurality

    (possibly majority) of these residents live in

    areas covered by NYC Hatzalah ten months of

    the year. A similar proportion of the Hatzalah

    EMTs are New York City members, carrying

    New York City radios, so it is logical for dispatch

    to use this frequency. However, there are

    dedicated Catskills dispatchers, who are familiar

    with the camp, bungalow colony, and hotel

    locations in the Catskills. The Catskills dispatchers

    use C-BASE as a radio call sign, while other

    NYC dispatchers use H-BASE as a radio call sign.

    Catskills Hatzalah is constantly updating their

    fleet and equipment to provide the best available


    AH: How many Hatzalah members are

    upstate over the summer?

    YF & BG: During the week, approximately

    125-150. On weekends, approximately 350.

    AH: To which hospital does Hatzalah

    typically take someone?

    YF & BG: Harris, which is now called Catskill

    Regional, Ellenville Hospital or Orange Regional

    Medical Center in Middletown, depending on

    which is closer. The Orange Regional Medical

    Center in Middletown has a state of the art

    Cath-lab to treat heart attack victims, as well as

    a level 2 NICU for premature newborns.

    AH: How does one contact the Bikur

    Cholim if they are in one of the hospitals


    YF & BG: There are Chesed rooms in all area

    hospitals. The staff and security will know

    where to direct you. Chesed 24/7 from New

    Square services all three area hospitals. Their

    number is: 845.354.3233.

    AH: Which Rabbonim does Hatzalah

    go through when they have questions


    YF, YM & BG: The Vaʼad Harabonim of

    Hatzalah, which consists of many different

    prominent Rabbonim and Dayonim.

    AH: If one has an emergency, how

    should one prepare for Hatzalah, especially

    at night and on Shabbos?

    YF, YM & BG: Call 718.387.1750 -or-

    718.230.1000. Both numbers work with both

    718 or 212. If you donʼt have money, you can call

    collect or call the 800 number, which is good all

    year round: 1-800-387-1750. You should have the

    exact address, the exact town and cross section

    because a lot of the towns have the same street

    names. Stand at the road with a flashlight on to

    guide Hatzalah, even on Friday night. The calmer

    you stay and the more guidance you give Hatzalah,

    the better off the patient will be.

    Catskills Hatzalah responds to over 2,000 calls per

    year, has a fleet of 13

    ambulances and over

    350 volunteers.

    AH: How many

    calls does


    typically receive

    over the


    YF, YM & BG:

    Over 2,000. The

    calls vary. The most

    prevalent calls are

    about children falling

    off their bikes, injuries

    from playing, or

    allergic reactions to

    bee bites or insect

    bites. We get calls

    about cuts and bruises, heart attacks, and

    women who have high risk pregnancies. We ask

    people not to come upstate if they are very sick or

    if they have high risk pregnancies. Although the

    hospitals cooperate with us 100%, they may not

    have the facilities and the capabilities of treating

    someone with these kinds of ailments. We then

    need to transport these patients with paramedics

    which may not be safe. With all the construction on

    Route 17, this requires us to tie up our fleet, tie up

    our volunteers for many, many hours and it puts a

    tremendous hardship on Hatzalah.

    AH: Is there anything else that you

    would like to tell Country Vues readers?

    YF, YM & BG: Yes, again a reminder to have

    working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

    Pool safety, make sure the pool are

    fenced properly and there are no gaps

    that small children can crawl under.

    Make sure proper adult supervision is at

    the pool at all times. There should be a

    working phone at the pool preferably a

    RED emergency phone, especially C”V

    in the event of a Shabbos emergency at

    the pool. Deer ticks are very prevalent

    upstate and everyone should use

    proper attire and use repellant when

    hiking or playing in grassy areas. In the

    event of a suspected tick bite, if there is

    NO allergic reaction, Please do not call

    Hatzalah. We do not perform tick

    removal. You should call your physician

    for guidance, removal and or testing

    and follow up treatment.

    Wishing all a Safe & HEALTHY Summer